Getting an x-ray is serious business and should only be done when it is completely necessary. There are a few different situations within a chiropractic setting where getting an x-ray is necessary.
#1 Elderly Patients
When patients are elderly, most chiropractors will insist on x-rays as part of their initial evaluation of a patient. When treating elderly patients, there is an increased risk that the patient has suffered trauma to their back over the course of their life. There is also an increased risk that the patient may be suffering from disease or damage that would be evident via an x-ray. Additionally, elderly patient's bone structure is less likely to fit that of an "ideal" bone structure and taking an x-ray will provide the chiropractor with the most accurate picture and information about one's back.
#2 Osteoporosis Risk
Women who are older are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. Women who are thin and petite are also at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, as are individuals who have a family history of osteoporosis.
If a person exhibits these risk factors, a chiropractor will most likely ask for an x-ray to see if you have osteoporosis and to see how developed it is. An x-ray could help your chiropractor spot any fractures or injuries to your bones due to your condition. Having osteoporosis makes your bones more fragile and will impact one's treatment.
#3 Joint Disease Risk
While reviewing your medical history, there are questions that the chiropractor will ask to determine if you are at risk of having a joint disease. One of the most common joint diseases is arthritis.
An x-ray will reveal if you have any joint diseases. This will allow your chiropractor to provide more direct and proper treatment.
#4 Traumatic Injury
If you have suffered a traumatic injury, your chiropractor will recommend an x-ray so they can see how that traumatic injury affected your bone structure. For example, if you were in a car accident or experienced a sports related injury, your chiropractor will likely recommend an x-ray so they can accurately determine the extent of damage that your bone structure took.
Based on your response to questions, if your chiropractor suspects that you have a spinal bone infection, they will need to get an x-ray to determine if their diagnosis is correct. Spinal bone infections are most common in the elderly, intravenous drug users and individuals who have compromised immune systems due to a variety of different medical conditions. It is also more common in individuals from countries with less medical infrastructure. Spinal bone infections themselves are pretty rare, but they are a source of back pain in some individuals.
#6 Long-Standing Untreated Pain
If you let your chiropractor know that you have been experiencing pain for an extended period of time in a specific area of your body, and that it has not been treated or that other doctors have not been able to treat it, your chiropractor will most likely recommend an x-ray as a diagnostic tool. An x-ray is just one method that your chiropractor will use to try to determine the source and the reason for your long-standing untreated pain.
If you don't fit any of the six criteria listed above, be sure to have your chiropractor explain why you need an x-ray before moving forward with this treatment option. For more information contact a local chiropractor like Davison Chiropractic.